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If nearly every notable NBA mock draft is to be believed, Oklahoma State freshman Cade Cunningham will be the first overall pick of the 2021 NBA draft. Saturday's game sure didn't do much to change that.
Facing rival Oklahoma, ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll, Cunningham had the game of his life while leading the Cowboys to a 94-90 win. The guard finished with 40 points and 11 rebounds, both new career highs.
It sure was a pretty 40 points, too:
Cunningham is now averaging 19.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in his freshman year, and no one is expecting a sophomore year.
Yahoo Sports' Krysten Peek had Cunningham as the safest pick to go first overall in her most recent mock draft, praising his strong all-around game. That includes great size (6-foot-8, 220 pounds) at his position, high basketball IQ, ability to defend three different positions and playmaking ability that has "shown glimpses of Luka Doncic."
He's the kind of player whose defensive highlights can be as impressive as his considerable offensive highlights.
Not hard to see how that will play in an NBA that increasingly rewards ball-dominant playmakers with defensive versatility.
,Unfortunately, there's a significant chance Cunningham's college basketball career won't extend into March Madness as the NCAA hit Oklahoma State with a postseason ban last summer. Oklahoma State soon appealed the decision and appears tournament-eligible for now, but the possibility remains that the NCAA hammer lands before Selection Sunday.
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